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big stick diplomacy

International negotiations backed by the threat of force. The phrase comes from a proverb quoted by Theodore Roosevelt, who said that the United States should “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.